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83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Introduction to Ancient Israel, June 26, 2000
This review is from: History of Ancient Israel (Hardcover)
J. Maxwell Miller and John H. Hayes' A History of Ancient Israel and Judah provides a solid introduction to the methods and problems of studying the development of the kingdoms that came to be known as Israel and Judah. The book deals with events from the time of Israel's origins (the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages) to the work of Ezra and Nehemiah (the fifth and fourth centuries BCE). On the whole, A History is more cautious with the biblical texts than other histories of ancient Israel, such as John Bright's A History of Israel. Miller and Hayes spend less time offering guesses about the more speculative aspects of Israel's history, such as the patriarchs and exodus, and concentrate their efforts on the later period (tenth to fifth centuries BCE) for which conclusions are more certain. From its beginning, this study is very much set within the geographical, political, economic, and religious context of the ancient Near East and Egypt as a whole. Perhaps the most attractive feature of this work is the inclusion of both photographs and fairly complete translations of extra-biblical documents pertinent to various stages of Israel's history. A History is divided into chronological segments, and the authors proceed by summarizing the biblical texts germane to the time period, critically examining these accounts along with extra-biblical and archaeological evidence, and then drawing conclusions. If the book has a major weakness, it is the absence of either footnotes or endnotes, but the authors provide a sizable topical bibliography at the conclusion of the book, and overall, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah is sound, readable scholarship.
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